Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Card Shoot

Thank you everyone for the Christmas cards, they are great to open. We hope everyone has a safe and fun filled holiday season. On the day we took our Christmas picture we meet a man out for a walk. He was very nice and agreed to take a few pictures for us. He absolutely loved the girls, having grown children of his own but no grandchildren, and was a joy to talk to.

We had fun taking pictures of each other and the girls before Michaela's nemesis arrived, a puppy off the leash, and gave her a big wet sloppy kiss. The day was done, after quite a few tears Michaela only wanted to go home. It was an absolutely stunning, warm, and awesome October day to be outside.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reindeer, Doorknobs, & Finals

If you guessed, "What are the weekend activities of a new home-owning professor with young children at Christmas time" you should be on Jeopardy.

Main street Marshfield, a non-profit group, is working at drawing people back to newly renovated central avenue. Last night we went for a horse drawn buggy ride. It was quite possibly the coldest night in the past 10 months. Today, in much warmer weather, we visited three reindeer. The girls loved both sets of animals.

The last six doorknobs are installed downstairs. No more concern of Michaela or Danielle locking us out of a room. Menards had a $4 rebate on $6 closet doorknobs, so it was time to change them all to matching silver.

Marshfield had 8-10 inches of snow Tuesday night / Wednesday morning. A stiff wind made plenty of drifts and bad driving conditions Wednesday. I went in to campus to work a bit, not surprisingly it was very quiet.

I am not sure when I will get caught up, so for the time being this is the only other picture I have looked at/edited out of 24 days of photos. Since Tuesday night.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Canceled Classes: Time to edit pictures

I was grading homework tonight when I received the email that campus is closed today (at the time tomorrow) due to forecasted blizzard conditions in southern and central Wisconsin. Like so many other times in my life when I should be thankful for a break and take the opportunity to catch up, I instead decided to procrastinate school work and edit pictures instead.

I uploaded over 100 edits, mostly from June and September. While I realize that spending much time on pictures three months old has little value except personal satisfaction, I do enjoy looking over them and recalling past memories. Michaela was and remains today very proud of her wedding dress.

IS there any wonder why I call Danielle Monster sometimes!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mead Wildlife Area - Volunteer Day 2

I canceled two class Friday of last week and took one of them, my environmental economics class, to Mead Wildlife Area again to volunteer. I absolutely loved the day outside at the Mead, having found a new favorite location to bird and get outside.

While I admit that I partially enjoyed the day getting out of the normal classroom and being outside, the joy I experienced was not superficial as a result of a day off. Three students out of five and myself joined two wildlife technicians out in the field with shears cutting buckthorn and applying herbicide on the stumps. We worked hard at identifying the buckthorn, which was a challenge since the leaves and berries recently fell off. When in doubt we cut it down, better safe than sorry.

I hope that this service learning project will make an impact on the students. With any luck this experience will instill the value of volunteering, environmental stewardship, and land ethics. I will finish the class project next semester with a survey, but this setback should have little if no effect on the pedagogical goal of the project.

After volunteering in the morning and lunch a student and myself jumped at the chance of a tour of a handful of managed flowages on the property. I could not contain myself and asked which ones would be best for Bitterns and Rails. We had no luck at finding a Rough-legged Hawk, but they should be around soon with migration.

Growing up with many outdoor experiences and memories I now realize how little I actually know about nature, being previously content with the peace of mind experience of being outside. Having spent two days with four different wildlife technicians, the DNR educational facilitator and DNR Mead WA supervisor I am reminded of our different knowledge specialities and my true lack of knowledge when it comes to nature. It is truly refreshing to have a conversation with someone where the enthusiasm and love of the subject mater is evident in almost every sentence. Thanks Bill!

With the recent involvement I was invited to join the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Mead, a volunteer organization that strives to raise funds for capital improvements at the Mead WA. I am eagerly looking forward to this volunteer opportunity, but cautious towards a large time commitment!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A bit behind

Who knows what actually caused us to laugh, but a bit of photoshop and all the good faces are in one picture!

I am only about two months behind on our pictures. We'll see if I get caught up after finals and before heading back to MN for Christmas ... I doubt it.

Six new doorknobs are on the doors upstairs. We are removing all the knobs in the house that are keyed and replacing them with closet doorknobs (unlockable) and bathroom doorknobs (locking but easily opened from the outside). Michaela locked Danielle's door a month ago and I was unable to figure out how to open it. Luckily no one was inside, but I ended up drilling it out. Six more to go downstairs!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Visit from Oregon

Two weekends ago my sister Aubrey and her awesome family Steve and Abigail (Abi), the Sakaguchis, visited us in Marshfield. It was a weekend filled with lots of family time and extra help around the house.

My parents with all of their descendants.

Three granddaughters!

Michaela and Abi

Danielle, Abigail, and Michaela in matching clothes from Grandma.

Even with the extra week to work on pictures and having the time in which I could have posted a blog, my sister was still quicker than me after returning home from her trip.You can see some more of their visit on the Sak's blog.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sickness & Wedding Pictures

After an exhausting Thanksgiving trip we are back in Marshfield. It was awesome to see everyone first in Willmar, then Brookings, then Motley, and finally in Staples. The girls loved the extra attention also.

Sickness has been spreading through our house. Danielle threw up three nights ago and Michaela followed the next night. Last night Christine was hugging porcelain and it wasn't from an all night binge. Hopefully I break the cycle and avoid it tonight as tomorrow I volunteer with my environmental economics class at a local wildlife area.

Derek and Kali, or at least Kali, gave permission for us to share their entire wedding pictures. The following link has all of our edited files for your viewing enjoyment.

The file size and print quality off of Picasa is limited, so if there are pictures that you like please send me an email and I can take care of it.